California Literary Review

Archeology

Art Review: Transition to Christianity, Onassis Cultural Center, New York City

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December 13th, 2011

After Christianity was recognized as the official state religion of the Roman Empire in 380, a number of Christian groups, notably monks in Egypt, changed roles from martyrs to persecutors. A magnificent head of Aphrodite, dating to first century Athens, bears the marks of Christian vandalism. The eyes and lips have been chipped to “blind” and “silence” the deity. A cross was then inscribed on the forehead of Aphrodite.

Book Review: Myths from Mesopotamia by Stephanie Dalley

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June 16th, 2010

I asked them why they, unannounced, wished to meet with the director and they told me that they had just discovered Noah’s ark in Turkey. As I had met a few others along the way conning people with this ark stuff I asked to see the proof. He immediately pulled out a black and white photo showing what looked like a rock cliff and asked, ‘What do you see?’ I looked at it closely and replied, ‘All I can see is that someone took a ballpoint pen and drew a photo of a ship on the rock face’. They replied, in that charming Tennessee accent, ‘Well, it’s a bit hard to see so we’all took a ball point pen and highlighted it for ‘y’all.’

A New Look at Rome’s Rousing Middle Ages

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August 6th, 2009

When its doors first opened in 1734, the Capitoline Museum, which stands upon the hilltop that is the very heart of Rome, was one of the first European public museums and a favorite haunt of the wealthy Grand Tourists from all over Europe. As of July 30 this venerable museum offers something novel to all tourists—a chance for a fresh look at a relatively neglected period of Roman history and the arts, the Middle Ages.

The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found by Mary Beard

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March 3rd, 2009

Nevertheless, in my personal library there are 130 books on Pompeii. Of all these, this is the one I would choose to read first.

Dilettanti: The Antic and the Antique in Eighteenth-Century England by Bruce Redford

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November 30th, 2008

A famous double portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds shows members of the Dilettanti Society sipping away while making rude gestures about vaginas while holding up gemstones from classical antiquity and admiring painted Greco-Roman vases.

A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World by Tony Horwitz

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August 6th, 2008

Gold, jewels – that was what the new world promised and that was what the Spanish demanded. It is the same paradox that had English settlers starving on the shore while lobsters scuttled underfoot. If it wasn’t what they had imagined, it didn’t exist.

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